January 11, 2002

Today Kristina and I ran for the very first time on St. Charles! (Well, I had briefly run on it during my five miler a few weeks ago, but never in the morning, and never both of us.) It wasn’t bad, three miles, but I guess it never really occurred to me that it’s dirt and grass, not asphalt, which is what I’m used to. It was tough! My calves hurt! And so did the outside of the arch of my right foot, but I suspect that may be my new shoes. I’m probably going to return them today and just get another pair of the Nike Air Structure Triax that I run in already. At least I know they work. I guess I shouldn’t have changed shoes. Now I feel a bit like a middle-aged man with a trophy wife. My trophy new and exciting shoes, which just aren’t as good as the old and reliables. Hmmm. I sure hope the running store will take them back! I’m trying to get all traces of this mornings run off of them. The bottoms got pretty muddy, but thankfully, the sides and tops of the shoes are still clean. I’ve spent a lot of this morning picking dirt out of the grooves with a bobby pin. Tee hee.
.: posted by pam m 9:45 AM

Yay! Returned the Brooks and got a brand-spankin’ new pair of Nike Air Structure Triax. Same colors, just cleaner. And bouncier. Nice. But, they sold me a size 11, and my old pair were 10.5. Strange. I tried the 11s on, they didn’t feel big. I hope they fit. The 10.5s are a teeny bit snug, so maybe the new ones will be even more comfy. Let’s hope. We’ll see tomorrow!
.: posted by pam m 3:34 PM

Yay Chris! Here are his pictures from the marathon.

Or, here’s my favorite picture (how can he be smiling right now?):

Chris’s Disney Marathon Race Report
by Chris (duh)

Short Version: I ran my first marathon in 4:21:07 for an average of 10:15/mile and the 2,331 overall finisher. I had a blast and honestly can’t wait to do it again!

Long Version: We got in to Orlando mid-day on Friday, wandered around the Magic Kingdom, and I got to bed early. Saturday I picked up my race packet, checked out the expo, carb-loaded on pasta/bananas and drank tons of water. My alarm went off at 2:45 a.m. Sunday morning. I showered, drank some water, ate a bagel w/peanut butter and headed out to catch the bus to the staging area near Epcot. It was a windy 55 degrees at the start of the race. I was in the last corral and it took me seven minutes to get to the starting line. They had fireworks and music blaring so it was very exciting to get started. The roads were very crowded and I took it easy at the start. I crossed the one-mile mark 10:39. It was so much slower than I had hoped to run. My long slow training runs averaged a 9:00-9:30 pace. However, some nagging tendonitis problems and a likely groin strain after my last 20 miler had me a little frightened to run too fast. I missed the next two mile markers and at mile 4 realized I was running about a 10:00/mile pace. I decided to stick with this pace until at least mile 13. The first part of the race was pretty easy. I had a power gel one hour into the race. I felt good. After the halfway point the course cleared out and I had more room to run.

I had decided to pick things up a bit after the half-way point, but as hard as I tried I couldn’t shake a 10 minute pace. Somewhere along the way I decided if I finished in four and a half hours I would be happy. I entered the Animal Kingdom theme park at mile 16 and a light mist began to fall. At mile 20-22 during a very boring out and back loop a torrential downpour struck and I was drenched from head-to-toe! The physical part of the race was over. It then became a mental challenge. I smiled a lot. I laughed out loud when it starting raining harder and I felt water squishing between my toes. I remember thinking to myself, “Damn Chris this was too easy…it needs to be more of a challenge!” I was determined to stay at the same pace regardless of the rain. I had another power gel three hours into the race. Along with the power gels, bananas, oranges, powerade, water, wet sponges, and sweet tarts I stayed well-hydrated and well-nourished throughout the race. I will always remember eating the best sweet-tarts in my entire life somewhere around mile 23!

I don’t think I ever hit “the wall.” I remember that mile 23 was super hard! It had stopped raining and my feet were wet and I could swear to you I thought one of my little toes had fallen off. (It’s still there…just one big blister!). I had some phrases that I recited over and over to keep going. The only time I walked was through the water stops, and I found it harder and harder to start back running, so eventually I stopped walking and just ran through the water stops splashing powerade all over me.

Miles 24-26 were pure exhilaration. There was great crowd support and when I crossed the 25 mile marker I picked things up a bit. I was determined to make mile 26 the fastest. I did the last mile in just over 9 minutes! The wave of thoughts that flooded my mind during the last mile was fantastic.

I don’t want to get to sappy, but I thought a lot about always being the fat kid, always getting picked last in sports, always wishing I was thin and fit. I thought about the journey to get to this point and the encouragement I’ve received along the way. It was great! I did a lot of reflecting on what I can do without those extra 40 lbs., negative thoughts, and unproductive goals floating around in my head.

After crossing the finish line I got the space blanket and my finisher’s medal – it’s a huge gold Mickey Mouse head! My wife Rebecca got so excited as I neared the finish line that she forgot to push play on the camcorder so I’ll have to run another one so she can film my finish.

I headed back to the hotel and showered and rested a bit. I was so hungry. I couldn’t get enough to eat. I had a cheeseburger and fries after the race. Then, that afternoon we went to Epcot. You know they have the World Showcase that highlights various countries around the world. Well, I guess you could say I proceeded to eat my way around the world. Fish and chips in England, crepes in France, sushi in Japan, funnel cake in America. It was fantastic. (Of course, the fish & chips along with a nice pint of ale was the best!)

I was very sore Monday and Tuesday. I was sore in the most unusual places like my lower back, obliques, and my right bicep…go figure?!? Overall, it was a remarkable, life-changing experience. It showed me that with will-power and determination anything is possible. Next up I have the Mardi Gras 1/2 in February and another 26.2 in April in London. I can’t wait! THE END.

(Pam again!) Oh yes, also exciting: Kristina just called me and told me she registered for the Crescent City Classic, which is a huge 10K, run through some of the prettier parts of New Orleans. I sent in my entry yesterday, and I was a little worried she’d decide not to run it. I am, of course, stunned that she agreed to run with me at all. Just a few weeks ago, when I asked if she wanted to run it, she say no way. But after last week’s 7.2 (tee hee) miler, she decided it wouldn’t be so bad after all. Yay! I can’t wait for that one. The atmosphere should be great.
.: posted by pam m 4:15 PM